About Asakusa 浅草
Asakusa (浅草) is the center of Tokyo‘s shitamachi (literally “low city”), one of Tokyo’s districts, where an atmosphere of the Tokyo of past decades survives.
Asakusa’s main attraction is Sensoji, a very popular Buddhist temple, built in the 7th century. The temple is approached via the Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries.
Asakusa can easily be explored on foot. Alternatively, you can consider a guided tour on a rickshaw (jinrikisha, literally “man powered vehicle”). A 30 minute tour for two persons costs around 9000 yen. Shorter and longer courses are also available.
We got the Subway from Daimon Station to Asakusa Station. Almost as soon as we left the station we came across a sushi place, and just had to stop in and try out real Japanese sushi! It was really good, and we were quite a novelty for the people in there.
We then wandered the area and found some strange food for sale (like sushi candy!)
We also wandered around some more and found ourselves down by the Sumida River.
Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) 浅草 雷門
The original gate, built by military commander Taira no Kinmasa in 942, stood south of Asakusa in Komagata. It was erected in the present location during the Kamakura period (1192-1333). At that time, statues of Fujin (wind god) and Raijin (thunder god) came to rest at either side of the gate.
The gate was burned down in a massive fire in December 1865. After a period of 95 years, it was finally reconstructed by Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Matsushita Electric, the electronics company known for its Panasonic brand. The bold, dignified gate is known around Japan not only as a symbol of Senso-ji but of the whole of Asakusa.
We also saw the Kaminarimon, which was just incredible!
We continued wandering the area and headed to the Nakamise Shopping Street 仲見世通り and the Sensō-ji Temple 浅草寺. (Please see the next two posts for these two sites.)
To see where else I went on Day 1 in Tokyo, please see my summary page.
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